The 2021/22 European Golden Shoe race is under way, with the continent’s most prolific goalscorers all vying to win one of football’s most prestigious individual awards.
Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski saw off the challenge of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to finish at the top of the European Golden Shoe rankings last season.
Lewandowski scored an astonishing 41 league goals from 29 appearances, giving him 82 Golden Shoe points and the highest winning score since Ronaldo in 2014/15.
Manchester United star Ronaldo and Messi – who has moved from Barcelona to PSG – both entered the new campaign expecting to challenge again in the standings for the most goals in Europe.
Premier League Golden Boot: Current standings and past winners
Messi’s PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappe and a fellow young star in Erling Haaland were also expected to be in the mix to top the Golden Shoe rankings and take the crown from Lewandowski.
Along with Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku, Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah started the season as the top Premier League candidates, though surprise winners have also emerged in the past.
Keep an eye on this page throughout the 2021/22 season for regular updates on the European Golden Shoe standings.
2021/22 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE STANDINGS
Robert Lewandowski increased his goal total at the weekend but faces big pressure from Karim Benzema and Erling Haaland in the early stages of his European Golden Shoe title defence.
Bayern striker Lewandowski followed up his hat-trick against Hertha Berlin from before the International break by scoring another goal in the 4-1 win over Bundesliga title rivals RB Leipzig on Saturday.
It took the Poland star onto six goals from just four top-flight matches this season, the highest total in all of Europe’s five major leagues.
But domestic rival Haaland is now one of his closest early challengers to score the most goals in Europe for 2021/22.
Two goals in Dortmund’s amazing 4-3 win over Bayer Leverkusen took the Norway sensation to five for the league season.
He is tied for second place in the Golden Shoe race with Karim Benzema, who notched a superb hat-trick for Real Madrid as they thrashed Celta Vigo 5-2.
There is a big cluster of players with four goals in the Golden Shoe charts, with Kylian Mbappe and Bruno Fernandes among them.
Cristiano Ronaldo is up and running for Man Utd after scoring a fine debut double against Newcastle, so should feature in the leaderboard soon.
Lionel Messi has still only made one substitute appearance for PSG since joining from Barcelona and is yet to get off the mark this season at club level.
For the time being our table below tracking the European Golden Shoe standings will only list players from the top five European leagues, where the winner is most likely to emerge from.
Some leagues are much further on in their seasons and the major competitions still have a lot of catching up to do.
Of the players in those countries where the season started earlier, Molde winger Ohi Omoijuanfo, who has 20 goals and 30 points from 17 matches, leads the early standings.
2021/22 European Golden Shoe
Who are the previous European Golden Shoe winners?
Lionel Messi has won the most European Golden Shoe titles.
The PSG forward has triumphed on six occasions, most recently in 2018/19 for Barcelona.
Cristiano Ronaldo is his closest challenger with four career wins, though the Juventus attacker has not come out on top since 2014/15 when he was at Real Madrid.
Nine players have two awards apiece, including Luis Suarez and Thierry Henry.
Messi holds the record for most goals and points in a season as well. He remarkably scored 50 goals in 2011/12, earning himself 100 points.
Ronaldo has come closest to breaking that, scoring 48 goals for 96 points when he last won the crown six years ago.
Argentina forward Messi is the only player in European Golden Shoe history to win the title three years in a row, doing so from 2016/17 until 2018/19.
Ronaldo, though, is one of only four players to have won the title with different clubs. The others are Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan and Mario Jardel.
Robert Lewandowski became the first Bundesliga winner since 1972 last season, with his 41 goals being the best tally for six seasons.
That came after Ciro Immobile won the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, scoring 36 goals for Lazio in a tremendous Serie A season.
It was his first title, with the striker becoming the first Serie A player to have the most goals in Europe since Francesco Totti triumphed for Lazio’s rivals Roma in 2006/07.
Ligue 1 has not produced a winner since Josip Skoblar in 1971, a statistic the likes of Messi and Mbappe are hoping to change soon.
What are the European Golden Shoe rules and weightings?
Only league goals are eligible for the European Golden Shoe, with each strike earning points in a weighted system depending on the quality of league.
The five elite leagues – Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 – all carry a weighting of 2, meaning that a player will be awarded two points for every goal they score in these competitions.
For the leagues ranked sixth to 21 in Uefa’s coefficients rankings – which includes the top-flights in Portugal, Netherlands and Russia – goals scored are given a weighting of 1.5, and goals scored in a league outwith the top 21 are given a weighting of 1.
That was not always the case in the European Golden Shoe. From 1968 until 1991, the award simply went to the highest goalscorer on the continent, regardless of the strength of league.
Awards were not initially handed out between 1991 until 1996, when the new system came into force. Since then, only two players playing outside what were the five highest-ranked leagues at the time have ever won the Golden Shoe – Henrik Larsson (2000/01) and Mario Jardel (2001/02).
The Golden Shoe has been tied in the past, most recently when Suarez and Ronaldo shared the honour in 2013/14. Going forward, though, the award will be given to the player who has played the fewest minutes if two of them end up on the same number of points.
This page covers the 2021/22 European Golden Shoe race.
Last season’s standings can be found here and if you want to see the final results for the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, follow this link.